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The Positive Growth of the Meeting and Event Industry

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The blazing summer sun is not the only thing hot these days. How about the meeting and event industry? The newest quarterly report of Meetings Outlook, forecasts a continued healthy market with an anticipated increase in employment, improvement of business conditions and growth of both live and virtual attendance.

The vast majority of respondents from our Business Research Panel indicated that a seller’s market exists currently and predicts one for 2018. You have a supply-and-demand curve that is slightly favorable toward demand right now,” says Bill Voegeli (MPI Georgia Chapter), president of Association Insights, the Atlanta-area research firm that conducts the survey.

The outlook suggests the market is going to continue to grow, possibly at an increasing rate, with demand slightly outpacing growth in supply, according to the report, which is sponsored by MGM Resorts International and supported in partnership with IMEX Group.

While predictions for business growth over the next year have been scaled back, 56 percent of respondents still predict favorable business conditions. Budget outlooks have edged slightly more positive for the past two quarters, with 55 percent predicting favorable budget/spend going forward.

There’s good news for both live and virtual attendance, expected to grow 1.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, according to the report.

There are other key data points in the report, including insights about safety and security and current employment trends. Writer Elaine Pofeldt and project editor Michael Pinchera have once again crafted a compelling and informative narrative to bring context to the data. Meetings Outlook is a must-read for the summer.

Speaking of hot, there is a fever pitch rising from Indianapolis, site of next year’s MPI World Education Congress (WEC). Participants in MPI’s Experiential Event Series acquainted themselves with the city as part of their behind-the-scenes educational tour at the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. While the race is known as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the city is racking up national accolades of its own.

One of the most fundamental elements of destination branding is differentiating your city from other cities,” says Leonard Hoops (MPI Indiana Chapter), president and CEO of Visit Indy, who is on the cover of The Meeting Professional this month. “Otherwise we're just a commodity, we’re in the box business. Airports, convention centers, hotels, restaurants, attractions—they’re basically a bunch of boxes.

“We absolutely use the 500 and our racing heritage as a differentiator for Indy. But we know that many people could care less about racing, just as some people might not like country music but they still understand how that might differentiate another city. The core marketing question we ask ourselves is, how do we use the 500 to tell the rest of the Indy story?

"To tell the story of being USA Today's No. 1 convention city, one of Travel + Leisure's best places to visit in 2017, one of Zagat’s hottest food cities of 2016. I often tell people that the winner of the Indy 500 has to make 800 left turns and cross the finish line before anyone else. But in Indy, the city, there’s a surprise around every one of those turns, and it's our job to tell that story.

You can learn more about WEC in Indy at www.mpiweb.org/indy18

Until next time …


About the Author

Rich
Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.